Published January 22, 2017
TUCSON – Writer and activist Sal Baldenegro has announced a new feature film project. “Sacred Goals” is a docudrama feature film, inspired by true events that occurred in Tucson, Arizona.
The film is about the historic student-led fight to protect ethnic studies in Arizona schools, after the courses were outlawed by the state legislature. The film also follows the personal awakening of a high school soccer player, as his eyes open up to the struggle happening around him.
Baldenegro writes from his own personal experience, having been heavily involved in the fight to protect ethnic studies in Arizona, and working as a high school soccer coach for four years.
The battle for education in Arizona has been intense. For years, students have dealt with underfunded and undervalued public schools, especially in minority communities.
In spite of this, the ethnic studies program at Tucson Unified School District was the largest of its kind, and it was hugely successful. Students who took ethnic studies courses had higher test scores, better graduation rates, and went to college at higher rates than their peers.
In 2010, however, these courses were outlawed by the state of Arizona. The Arizona state legislature passed the law HB2281, which bans the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona schools. This law specifically targets Mexican-American/Chicano Studies, the largest of the ethnic studies programs.
When the law took effect, the school district banned dozens of books, including Arturo Rosales’ “¡Chicano! The History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement”, Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and “Rethinking Columbus: the Next 500 Years”, an anthology that includes pieces by various American Indian authors, including Suzan Shown Harjo, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joseph Bruchac, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Winona LaDuke. Shakespeare’s”The Tempest” was also banned, because of its themes surrounding race and colonization of indigenous peoples.
Despite all of this, a group of students, primarily led by young women, organized themselves and fought back. In the face of outlawed classes and banned books, these brave students stood up to defend their education and their culture. This film tells their powerful and inspiring story.
The film is currently in the pre-production stage, and Baldenegro has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the film’s production.
CLICK HERE to contribute to the project.